GE Launches Digital Wind Farm To Make Renewables More Efficient

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Multinational company GE announced the launch of its new Digital Wind Farm on Tuesday, “a dynamic, connected, and adaptable wind energy ecosystem” intended to boost a wind farm’s energy production by 20%.

GE Digital Wind FarmAccording to GE, the Digital Wind Farm makes use of the industrial internet “to address a long-standing need for greater flexbility in renewable power.

“Every business — including our own at GE — and every industry is being transformed by smarter digital technologies, and the greatest opportunity lies in energy,” said Steve Bolze, president and CEO of GE Power & Water. “The question is not whether to start down this path … it’s about knowing how to get the most out of your digital transformation. That’s what will separate industry leaders from those left behind.”

The Digital Wind Farm is based around GE’s new generation of Brilliant wind turbines, a 2 MW platform which utilises a digital twin modelling system to generate power at peak efficiency based on the location of the turbine. The technology has the chance to increase energy production by up to 20%, and could help generate up to an estimated $50 billion of value for the wind industry (based on all wind farms in the world using the latest GE turbines and technology). On top of that, each turbine is connected to an advanced network which allows for real-time contact and monitoring, allowing operators to make adjustments to boost efficiency.

Naturally, with more data and more turbines producing more data, the system can become more advanced and intelligent, leading to increased efficiency.

“GE’s focus on life-cycle operations is consistent with the way we operate our wind farms,” said Michael Polsky, president and CEO of leading energy company Invenergy. “We look forward to working together with GE’s Digital Wind Farm to unlock even more long-term value across our fleet.”

“Big data is worthless without the insight to take action, and our vision for the industry is to use today’s data to predict tomorrow’s outcomes,” added Bolze. “By harnessing the full power of the Industrial Internet, we can create a world where wind farms learn, adapt and perform better tomorrow than they do today.”


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10 thoughts on “GE Launches Digital Wind Farm To Make Renewables More Efficient

  • Well said:

    “Big data is worthless without the insight to take action, and our vision for the industry is to use today’s data to predict tomorrow’s outcomes,” added Bolze. “By harnessing the full power of the Industrial Internet, we can create a world where wind farms learn, adapt and perform better tomorrow than they do today.”

    Now only if the CEO of GE could play golf with fossil fuel CEOs and say this is roughly how climate models work. Since GE is a pretty big supplier of oil, gas and coal power equipment and services.

    • Who is buying coal power equipment?

      • GE is pretty darn big in coal fired. Especially water treatment. Generation as well. The Alstrom deal secured even more.

  • Presumably Siemens, Vestas etc. are not sitting on their hands in control automation. Has GE really got the lead it claims, since it is not gaining market share? Where are the Chinese?

    • GE has been working on their industrial control software for close to a decade that has been talked about publicly. They are making this an internet of things and people to optimize production and energy efficiency at all levels of commercial application.
      With their recent merger with the French manufacturer it is obvious that they are not going to get out of production themselves but they see a lot of their future business coming from optimization software for all types of manufacturing and industry control systems..

      • GE don´t have any lock on the IOT, which primarily depends on two resources available to anybody: the Internet´s communications protocol, and mass-produced intelligent sensors and microcontrollers using ARM cores, which they license to anybody for cents on the chip.

        • Don’t forget about MIPS. ARM dominates the higher end of the SOC market (think phones), but in the IOT market good old MIPS is still doing just fine.

          Oh, and Intel has some very interesting IOT offerings in the pipeline too.

        • I didn’t try to indicate that they had any lock on this type of business, just trying to explain that they have been involved in this just as long as Siemens and the others.
          They have been involved in the internet of things in machine shops since back in the fifties, designing the software and control systems not only for their own production but many other companies across the US.
          And this number is a year or two old, but you asked about the Chinese wind turbines, from the stockholders report their software was running over forty percent of the turbines on the wind farms there. Also in Japan, India, and other parts of Asia to various degrees.
          It might be my mistake, because it seemed from your comment that GE is a newcomer to this industry, and that is far from the case. There just just isn’t a lot of publicity with what they do because their software systems are add ons after the turbine companies get the farms built.

    • I suspect their 20% figure is cherry-picked. If you have an older tech windfarm, and replace all your turbines with our latest model complete with our latest software, you’ll get 20%. If you have newer more efficent stuff not so much.

      Thats the standard marketting stick I saw in computers all the time, the competitions marketting communications would always compare themselves against the weakest (usually oldest) version of your product they could find.

      Now. I wouldn’t doubt GE is doing good stuff. Just don’t believe marketting numbers.

  • Anybody can throw about terms like “Big Data” and gains “up to x%” but few actually can back it up. Is there any data to indicate GE’s claims are true or is it all hype? I don’t mean to be harsh but I don’t want to just consume things at face-value either. What parameters can they play with to get that 20% improvement? All I’m seeing is their ability to use the batteries they have installed to better meet the ramp up and downs of the utility they are connected to. Not much technology behind doing that!

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